ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and a former magistrate were left red-faced after the Islamabad High Court acquitted a senior CDA official caught red-handed reportedly receiving bribe of Rs4 million from the owner of Safa Gold Mall in 2015.
IHC’s division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani set aside January 10, 2017’s judgment of an accountability court and acquitted CDA Deputy Director Estate Management Iftikhar Ali Haideri from the corruption case.
The then magistrate Nisha Ishtiaq and a NAB inquiry team had claimed to have caught Haideri red-handed while he was allegedly receiving Rs4 million as bribe from the owner of Safa Mall, Rana Abdul Qayyum, on November 30, 2015.
The IHC, however, exonerated Haideri as prosecution, NAB officials and Ishtiaq, who is now serving as the Director Estate Management CDA, failed to prove any of the charges levelled against him.
It was earlier reported that a joint team had conducted a raid at a restaurant on the fourth floor of the mall to arrest Haideri, who was called there by the owner of the mall to finalise a deal in order to put official record ‘straight’.
Following the complaint, Nisha had recorded Qayyum’s statement under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code and prepared the list of 100 prize bonds each of Rs25,000 and Rs15,000 denomination provided by complainant.
The prize bonds which were to be given to Haideri as “illegal gratification” were tainted by the magistrate.
The judgement stated that Ishtiaq, Qayyum and the investigation officer, Ehsan Qadir, “have failed to prove the recovery of prize bonds and even the recovery memo does not contain prize bond numbers, the taint and the mark on each prize bond has not been prepared in accordance with law.”
The judgment noted that the witnesses were neither shown the bonds at the time of recovery nor were the statements of Haideri as well as other witnesses recorded by the magistrate.
“Even the witnesses have not seen the delivery of prize bonds to the appellant Iftikhar Ali Haideri, whereas NAB authorities have exercised their jurisdiction while initiating the investigation in the instant reference which is not warranted under the law,” the judgment read.
Similarly, in the judgment, the bench said that they are “convinced” that Haideri is not empower to give any benefit to Qayyum for increase or decrease in the demand of Rs454,750,207 generated by CDA for balance premium against Safa Gold Mall plot situated in Sector F-7.
“Even no benefit, letter or relaxation has been extended to ... complainant [Qayyum] by the appellant [Haideri],” the bench stated in the judgment issued on January 15.
“The entire edifice constructed by the NAB authorities as well as by the prosecution witnesses crumbles down and charge has not been proved against the appellant/Iftikhar Ali Haideri in any manner,” it added.
In his earlier petitions seeking bail from IHC, Haideri through his counsel had always claimed that Qayyum got illegal favour from him and when his objective was achieved, he made a plan in connivance with the investigation officer and under the grab of NAB authority arrested him.
His counsel Babar Awan had alleged that Haideri was arrested in a false and frivolous case by NAB, adding neither the NAB authorities had powers to conduct the raid to any place nor the case was registered by a proper investigation agency like police or FIA.
Moreover, Awan had stated that Qayyum remained involved in criminal activity in connivance of the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) and caused a loss of more than 376 million to EOBI. He had added that Qayyum was a defaulter of CDA for the outstanding payment of more than Rs40.5 million up to 2013 for the plot.
Calling him the main beneficiary of the scam and a powerful man, Awan had alleged in the petition that he was arrested only after the Supreme Court intervened in the matter by taking a suo motu notice.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2018.
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